On primary date, AG asks judge for time

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In a filing late Monday, the state Attorney General’s office asked a judge to reject the federal government’s attempt to force an August 2012 primary date in New York.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion with a federal judge in Albany earlier this year asking him to require the state to hold its primary date at least 80 days before the November general election.

It all has to do with a new(ish) federal law requiring states to have absentee ballots in the hands of oversees military members at least 45 days before an election (no later than Aug. 18). The state’s traditional September primary wouldn’t allow enough time to make that happen.

But AG Eric Schneiderman’s office contends the federal governments’ motion is premature because the state has applied for a waiver in 2012 that would allow for a September primary for one more year, and the U.S. Department of Defense hasn’t ruled on that application yet.

If the waiver is ultimately denied, Scheiderman’s office asks for a February 2012 deadline for the governor and Legislature to set a new primary date. Good-government groups are pushing for a June primary; Senate Republicans are pushing for August.

A hearing is scheduled in Albany in mid-November.

(The state’s presidential primary, meanwhile, will be held April 24.)

Both New York state and the state Board of Elections were named in the DOJ’s suit. Elections also filed paperwork in the lawsuit yesterday, and the AG’s office made other legal arguments against the DOJ’s motion, which can be read below:

MOL Response Supplemental Permanent Relief ECF

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